“God’s Will” are words that are commonly used by Christians for many decisions that they make. It sounds spiritual but is this really true? In doing “God’s will” can we be doing our own will? The Psalmist David often struggled with God’s will for his own life. As king, he faced many tough decisions. He knew that his decisions, not only affected him, but many other people. What was David’s guiding principle in acknowledging God’s will for his life? “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore FOR THY NAME’S SAKE lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)
David understood that doing God’s will had nothing to do with his own desires and goals. God’s will had everything to do with God’s glory. David knew that motivation was the key in recognizing God’s will for his life. When David pleased himself, he brought harm to himself and others. When David sought to bring glory to God, he brought blessing to himself and others.
There are many people who say they are doing “God’s will”, but it is very questionable. Their motivation seems self-centered instead of God-centered. Sometimes, we ignore Biblical principles in doing “God’s will.” Sometimes, we break commitments in doing “God’s will”. Sometimes, we possess an angry spirit in doing “God’s will. Sometimes, a fear of man is the determining factor in doing “God’s will.” Are we using God as an excuse for fulfilling our own plans and desires?
When we seek to understand the will of God for our lives, we should start where David started. Am I doing this “For His name’s sake”? Will God be glorified in this decision? We often make decisions based on how it will affect our lives, but do we think about God and His glory?
David longed to do God’s will because he knew that in doing His will, he would bring glory to the very One he loved. Every aspect of our lives should bring glory to our God whom we love. When our family is in the will of God, we glorify God. When our use of time is in the will of God, we glorify God. When our service unto God is in the will of God, we glorify God. When our relationships with others are in the will of God, we glorify God.
In conclusion, when we say we are doing “God’s will” let us be very careful to look deep into our hearts and check our motivation for doing “God’s will”. The guiding principle is: “Am I doing this for my name’s sake or for His name’s sake?”
“Dear Lord, as we seek your guidance, we often look at what makes us comfortable, and what makes us happy. We totally forget what brings glory to your name. Please help us, to keep our eyes upon you as we make decisions. The important thing is not what we want, but what you want. May we not confuse the two. Amen.”
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” (Psalm 18:6)
“Will anybody listen to me?” Have you ever caught yourself thinking this very thought? Yes, throughout life there are times when we feel alone. We think no one understands. When these times occur, we must not forget that there is One who is always available to listen. He understands exactly how we feel. Are we prepared to confide in Him?
When we confide in the Lord, we are saying: “I trust you, and I know that you care about me. I pour out my heart to you, because I know that you understand. Please show me what I need to do.”
Why do we need to confide in the Lord?
Has a situation ever come our way and we don’t know what to do? We feel helpless in the midst of what is happening around us. Many years ago, King Jehoshaphat of Judah faced the near certain defeat of his army. Within himself there was no strength or wisdom to handle this dire situation. He did what we all must do when we are confused and helpless. He went to the Lord. “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) God is waiting for us to confide in Him in the midst of our confusion. At times, we don’t confide in God because we are reluctant to admit our need of Him.
Another reason we need to confide in the Lord is that our own viewpoint can lead us astray. You have heard the saying: “Let your heart be your guide.” However, God tells us why our heart is not a reliable guide for our life. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? ” (Jeremiah 17:9) God makes it clear that our heart is not to be trusted. We often make decisions based upon our own selfishness or bias. When we confide in God, we will see life from His perspective.
Trials, heartaches, and difficulties fill our life. We can’t travel the hard road of this life without continually confiding in our Lord. Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) When tribulations come, do we forget that the Lord is greater than any trial that comes into our life? When we cry out to Him in midst of our pain, He responds to us. When an emergency happens in this life we call 911. Why are we so reluctant to cry out to the Lord in the midst of our pain?
People say: “I would be a good Christian, if it wasn’t for other people.” Yes, other people may hurt us, misunderstand us, ignore us and dislike us, but there is a friend who is always there. His name is Jesus! David confided in God when he faced powerful enemies; so can we. “Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;” (Psalm 55:2) The Lord is a Friend who will never leave us or disappoint us. Will we learn to confide in Him when we have problems with others?
Finally, we need to confide in God because of His Greatness. He is worthy of our faith. God is our all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful Lord and Friend. He is our High Priest to whom we can go at any time. He is a refuge in the midst of any storm. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8) God’s greatness is like a magnet that draws us to Him. He can handle any situation that we take to Him.
How do we confide in the Lord?
Confiding in the Lord is simply to share our requests openly with Him. He already knows what is happening in our lives, but He wants us to come before Him in complete faith and honesty. “Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God.” (Psalm 59:1) The Psalmist understood that he could share any request with God, and He would hear him. Our God desires us to seek Him. His love means that His ears are always open to our cries unto Him.
As we confide in Him, we must also remember the importance of having a grateful heart. Gratitude is a way of confiding in the Lord that we are totally dependent upon Him. In Philippians 4:6, Paul writes: “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving.” When we cry out to God, we thank Him for all that He is doing in our lives, and all that He will do in our lives.
Confiding in God is also demonstrated when we come before Him in desperation. We don’t see God as part of the solution, or maybe a possible solution. No! God is the only solution. The Psalmist writes: “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6) Our desperate cry is saying: “I need you, Lord. You alone can help me.” God will respond to this humble cry.
We are often tempted to seek to handle life in our own wisdom and strength. Yet, the Lord is always there. He is always ready to listen. Why do we choose failure in our own strength and wisdom, instead of choosing success in His strength and wisdom? God is waiting to hear from us today! Will we confide in Him?
A doctor’s waiting room is not a pleasant place. Yes, there are comfortable chairs, a TV, and magazines. However, somebody is sitting in the office waiting for test results that will bring bad news. Another person is waiting for a procedure that may or may not work. Another person is fidgeting because they are growing very impatient. Another person is anxious because they don’t know how they will pay their large medical bills. Another person looks completely bored as they continually look at the clock.
God’s waiting room is much like a doctor’s waiting room. As we wait upon God, fear and anxiety can creep into our lives. We don’t know what plans God has for us. For this reason, we worry about our future. We are filled with pain, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. We wonder how long must I continue with this pain. We can become upset with God because He is keeping us in His waiting room longer than we would like.
God’s waiting room is one of the most difficult places for a believer. We want God to come and relieve us of our fear and anxiety quickly. We want God to change our lives now and make us a super Christian. We get tired of the daily drudgery of our lives. The pain is constant and no relief is in sight. We feel like we are drowning and coming up for air one last time, and God’s hand is not there to pull us out.
David had some of these feelings throughout his life. He faced a lengthy time of persecution by King Saul. He struggled with his own guilt over his sin with Bathsheba. He faced many other fearful, anxious and painful situations. How did David respond to being in God’s waiting room? Psalm 40 helps us to join David in God’s waiting room.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth,even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.“ (Psalm 40:1-3)
David understood that there are times in life in which we must spend time in God’s waiting room. In David’s case, it was a deep pit from which he couldn’t escape. God often makes us wait so that He can teach us some very important lessons about ourselves and His person. He makes us wait because it is part of His perfect plan for our lives. God’s waiting room is also a place to teach us faith and patience.
God in His timing will take us out of His waiting room and respond to our cries. God heard David’s cry and took him out of the pit and placed him upon the solid rock. God gave David the grace to continue serving Him and ministering to others. Likewise, our waiting room experience will enable us to have a greater capacity to serve the Lord and minister to others. We will have learned the art of dependence upon God in the waiting room.
The greatest blessing of being in God’s waiting room is to share our experience with others. David’s experience caused him to give praise unto God. When people saw David’s response to God’s working in his life, they learned the lesson of trust for their own lives. They understood that if God was with David in the waiting room, He will also be with me.
John Bunyan spent several years in the Bedford jail. His crime was that he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. While in jail, Bunyan produced one of the greatest Christian books ever written, called “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” Even today, many people have been blessed by John Bunyan’s waiting room experience.
Like Bunyan, God will give us a message to share with others while we are in His waiting room. It may not be a book, but it will be a message about God’s faithfulness, love and deliverance. Faith means that no matter what happens in my life, God is in control and He will ultimately use it for His glory and the benefit of others.
Today, if you feel as though you would like to escape God’s waiting room, don’t! God is right there with you in the waiting room though you may not see Him working or understand what He is doing. The waiting room is a place of patience and faith. God’s timing is not always our timing, but it is the best timing.
“Dear Lord, I am in pit that is dark, deep and hopeless. I know that you tell me to wait, but I can’t stay in your waiting room much longer. Please give me the faith to see that this waiting room is your will for my life. I know that you hear my cry. Help me to believe that one day, you will set me on the solid rock. Thank you for being with me in this waiting room. Thank you for the opportunity to give praise to your name and have a ministry to others. Even in this waiting room, I love you, Lord. Amen.”
Hurt and discouragement are realities in every person’s life. We have felt the painful arrow of someone’s words. We have experienced being misunderstood or betrayed. Discouragement settles into our lives as an unwelcomed guest. Even our friends can do nothing to relieve us of our painful hearts. We don’t know where to turn.
King David had these very same experiences in his life. He had enemies who were out to get him. His few remaining friends pushed him into a deeper despair by saying that God had abandoned him. He shares his experience in Psalm 3. This Psalm begins with David expressing the helplessness of his soul: “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.” (Psalm 3:1-2)
The words: “There is no help for him in God.” cry out for an answer. We have all faced discouragement because of circumstances, people who don’t like us, and our own actions. However, when those who are closest to us give up hope for us, what are we to do? We often crawl into our shell and nurse our broken heart alone.
In the midst of the darkness of his soul, David looks up to God. Has God abandoned him? No! He finds his hope and encouragement once again in God. He reaffirms his faith and trust in God: “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3)
God is his protector (shield) in spite of his enemies.
God will be glorified, in spite of his circumstances.
God will lift up his soul unto joy and encouragement in spite of his despair.
After David reaffirms his trust in God, he then cries out for God to act in his behalf. “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah” (Psalm 3:4) God is waiting for us to cry out to Him. Our Heavenly Father knows all about our enemies, pain, trials, and discouragement; however, He chooses to wait until we humble ourselves before Him. Our crying out to Him is saying: “Lord, I have no where else to turn. I desperately need you. Please come and deliver me.” God will hear our cry and respond.
David’s situation has yet to change, but he has changed. He knows that God is working everything for His glory. David no longer faces sleepless nights turning his bed. “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” (Psalm 3:5) We don’t have to lie awake at night worrying about our enemies, future and tribulations. Sleep comes when we remember that the Lord is our shield. Nothing can enter our lives that doesn’t first pass through his loving presence.
The dread of each day would no longer be a part of David’s life. “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” (Psalm 3:6) We don’t have to wake up in the morning filled with fear of what will happen. God is in control. He is the One who restores our confidence and hope. Each day is a new opportunity to bring glory to God who has lifted up our soul
David concludes with confidence that God will show His justice upon his enemies. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone;thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” (Psalm 3:7) When we turn to God, we are free to allow Him to deal with those who have committed evil, whether it be against us, or others. We are free from bitterness when we commit them completely to the justice of God.
Turning to God has caused a transformation in David’s life. In the beginning of the Psalm, David’s soul is downcast and hopeless, but at the end of the Psalm, he proclaims that he is greatly blessed by God. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” (Psalm 3:8)
God transforms our despair into joy, peace, comfort, courage and blessing. God’s ears are always open to our cry. Are we ready to cry out to Him?
“Dear Lord, I have a heavy heart. My life seems hopeless. Those around me say that I am beyond your help. Yet, I know that you hear my cry unto you. Your Word tells me that you are my Protector. Help me to hide behind your shield. Give me the grace to live for your glory. Thank you for lifting up my soul no matter how low it may go. You alone can restore my hope, my joy, my courage, and my purpose in life. Thank you for hearing not only my cry, but the deepest sighs of my soul that I can’t express outwardly. Amen.”
“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 36:7)
Often, as a pastor, I minister to people facing tough times. We have all experienced the death of a loved one, a serious sickness, issues within the family, financial setbacks, sin problems, and many other forms of pain and trials. Many times, these problems are unsolvable from a human perspective: however, there is a place of security, love, comfort and peace. The Bible calls this place, “under the shadow of His wings.”
David often faced great difficulties in his life. In Psalm 36, David writes about those who would bring harm to his life. He realizes that he is helpless in face of these schemes; so he chooses to find refuge under the wings of his Lord God.
The words, “under His wings”, refer to how a young bird finds protection from danger within the shadow of his mother’s wings. Whatever danger that comes to the young bird must first pass through the ever vigilant mother. God is like that mother bird. He gives us a place of refuge under the shadow of His wings. Nothing will enter our lives until it first passes through His ever vigilant eyes and protection.
Here are some examples of times when we need to seek the security that God provides for His children.
Fear. (Even groundless fear is still painful.)
Danger. (Self, sin, Satan, and foes)
Inability to defend or overcome without help
Foresight that sees the storm coming and looks for safety.
Prudence to hide before the storm.
Times of fatigue, discouragement, or temptation.
David fled to the safety of the shadow of the Lord”s wings because He knew God personally; thus, he could trust Him. How well do we know God? In Psalm 36, David focuses upon five attributes of God that will help us to know Him better.
1. God is merciful. We don’t deserve His forgiveness, compassion and protection; and yet He shows mercy unto us. “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;” (Psalm 36:5a)
2. God is faithful. People may come and go in our lives. People may not want to help us. Sometimes, others may get tired of helping us, but God demonstrates His faithfulness by His presence in our lives. He never leaves us, nor does He forsake us. “Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5b)
3. God is righteous. We can trust God because He can do no wrong. When God makes a promise to us, He keeps His word. There is great comfort and strength when we flee to God’s Word to claim one of His promises. God will never fail us, nor wrong us. “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains.” (Psalm 36:6a)
4. God is just. Everywhere we look we see injustices occurring. We wonder, “where is the justice?” When we flee to God, we will receive justice. God’s justice is perfect and impartial. “Thy judgments are a great deep:” (Psalm 36:6b)
5. God is love. God knows our weakness. He knows our need of Him, more than we do. His love says to us: “Come unto me, I will take care of you” “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!” (Psalm 36:7)
When we find refuge under the shadow of His wings, we will find abundant peace, protection and guidance from our Heavenly Father. David testifies of God’s provision in the life of those who live under the shadow of His wings. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” (Psalm 36:8-9)
“Dear Father, instead of finding refuge under your wings, I try to solve my problems on my own. I know that I should come to you. I know that you love me; yet, I seek to go my way. Help me to trust you when hard times come. Place me under your loving wings; so that I will know the warmth of your love, peace and protection. Amen”
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” (Psalm 18:6)
“Does anyone care?” “If only I could find someone who will listen to me!” Have you ever caught yourself thinking these thoughts? Yes, throughout life there are times when we feel alone. We think no one cares. When these times occur, we must not forget that there is One who is always available. He loves us and is ready listen to us. He understands exactly how we feel. Are we ready to confide in our Lord?
When we confide in the Lord, we are saying to Him: “I trust you, and I know that you care about me. I pour out my heart to you, because I know that you understand. I also know that you will show me what I need to do.”
Why did Moses stay faithful in spite of his trials? He confided in the Lord. How did Joshua lead God’s people? He confided in the Lord. How did David receive forgiveness of his sin? He confided in the Lord. How did Paul rejoice in the midst of his persecution and difficulties? He confided in the Lord. How will we stay faithful through life’s tribulations? We will need to confide in the Lord.
Why do we need to confide in the Lord?
1. We need to confide in the Lord because we have no wisdom or strength within ourselves. When King Jehoshaphat faced the near certain defeat of his armies, he confided in the Lord. He knew that God alone could handle this situation. “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) Jehoshaphat demonstrated a spirit of humility before God which enabled him to confide in the Lord. We choose not to confide in God because we don’t want to admit our need of Him.
2. We need to confide in the Lord because we have a deceitful heart that can often lead us astray.“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? ” (Jeremiah 17:9) People often say: “I can’t go wrong if I just follow my heart”. However, God makes it clear that we can not trust our own hearts. We often make decisions based upon our own selfishness, bias or lack of knowledge. We need to confide in the Lord because He will direct us in the right path.
3. We need to confide in the Lord because difficulties come into our lives. We can’t travel the road of life without continually confiding in our Lord. Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) When tribulations come, do we forget that the Lord is greater than any trial that may come into our lives.
4. We need to confide in the Lord because of problems with others. People say: “I could be a good Christian, if it wasn’t for other people.” Yes, other people may hurt us, misunderstand us, ignore us and dislike us, but there is a friend who is always there. His name is Jesus! David confided in God when he faced powerful enemies; so can we. “Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;” (Psalm 55:2)
5. We need to confide in God because of His Greatness. He is worthy of our faith. God is our all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful Lord. He is our High Priest to whom we can go at any time. He is a refuge in the midst of any storm. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)
How do we confide in the Lord?
1. We share our requests openly with God. “Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God.” (Psalm 59:1) The Psalmist understood that he could share any request with God, and that God would hear him. He is ready to listen to all of our requests.
2. We are to show gratefulness unto the Lord as we confide in Him.“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) God loves to hear and answer our prayer requests, but He also loves to hear us give praise and thanks unto Him.
3. We are to show desperation when we confide in God.“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.” (Psalm 102:1)Our desperate cry shows our total dependence upon Him. Our cry also shows that He is our only hope. When desperate times come, God is waiting for us to cry out to Him.
4. We are to confide in God thoughtfully. Confiding in God means that we don’t repeat the same words without thought. God wants us to share our mind, will and emotions with Him. When Jesus taught about prayer, He said: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do:” (Matthew 6:7)
We have a choice each day. Will we openly confide in our Lord or ignore the opportunity of pouring out our hearts to our dearest Friend? We should not only confide in the Lord when we have sorrow and trials, but also in our times of blessing and joy. God wants us to confide in Him in every decision that we make. Confiding in God increases our love for Him because we find complete satisfaction in Him.
“Dear Lord, I often live my life without sharing it with you. You have blessed me with your presence and yet I ignore you. Why are you so patient with me? Help me to have the desire to confide in you completely. Thank you that you do care and that I can trust you with my whole heart. With my love, from your child. Amen”
“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7)
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” is a Christmas Carol that people sang since the 16th century in England. If is a song of joy as expressed in the words: “Good tidings we bring to you and your kin. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” However, not everybody receives good tidings during this time of year. We still face trials, sorrow, and pain. Many people even feel a deeper sense of loneliness during this time of year than at any other time of the year. Yes, evil tidings don’t stop during this time of year: however there is good news from God in the midst of evil tidings that may come our way.
In the Bible, we see many people who triumphed over the evil tidings in their lives. Joseph overcame many evil tidings, including betrayal, slavery, and prison, to become the prime minister of Egypt. Ruth overcame the evil tidings of the death of her husband and living in poverty. She would soon marry Boaz and become the great-grandmother of King David.
God gives us his Word to encourage us as we face the evil tidings of life that may come our way. Every day, “bad news” can surprise us. We don’t ask for it, but it is a package delivered to the doorway of our lives. How can we triumph even in the midst of bad news? How can we see good news come out of the bad news? Psalm 112:7 gives us some answers to these questions.
Normally, our first response to bad news is to be afraid or fearful. Fear paralyzes us. It causes us to focus upon the bad news instead of our Great God. God tells us that we do not have to be afraid of the “evil tidings” that enter into our life. God knows that fear will keep us from seeing Him clearly. Fear causes us to doubt the goodness and the power of God. For this reason God gives us many verses that command us to “fear not”.
“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob,and he that formed thee, O Israel, FEAR NOT: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
” FEAR THOU NOT; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID.” (John 14:27)
When fear departs in the midst of the bad news, then we are able to do the next step in facing our bad news. We now can “fix our heart” upon the Lord. Our bad news is an opportunity to focus upon God. We can focus upon all of His attributes and promises. When we fix our heart upon the Lord, it may not change our circumstances, but it will change how we face our circumstances. We will understand with the Apostle Paul that
God’s grace is sufficient for the “evil tidings” that may come in our life.
Once fear has departed and we have fixed our heart upon the Lord, then we can have faith in Him. Faith is responding to all that we know about God. The more we know the Lord, the more we will be able to trust Him. True faith knows that God will never leave us, nor forsake us regardless of the “bad news” that may come our way. His love is an unchanging love. He loves us with an “everlasting love.”. Faith in our Lord will dispel any fear in our life. It will enable us to bear whatever “bad news” that comes our way.
In summary, when we receive bad news, Psalm 112: 7 tells us three ways to respond to the “evil tidings”
Do not allow fear to dominate our thoughts and actions.
Fix our heart upon the Lord. Let our thoughts focus on the Lord.
Place our faith in the Lord. He will carry us as we face the “bad news’ in our life.
When the “evil tidings” enter into our live, God has a way of turning those evil tidings into an opportunity to see Him work in our life and in the lives of those around us. God will turn those “evil tidings” into “good tidings” that will draw us closer to Him, and bring glory to His name.
“Dear Lord, the news that I receive is not always good. I see people who are suffering. I visit those who have marital problems. I talk with those who have a loved one who is dying. I see people who have turned away from you. I also face difficulties from time to time in my life. My tendency is to face the bad news with fear. Help me, to turn my eyes off the “bad news” and fix my heart upon you. Please, increase my faith. Help me to believe that you will take this “bad news” and make it into something good. Thank you for your great plan for my life. Amen”
What can you learn from a six-week old baby? I would have never thought about this question until I met Aubrey Joy Oberlin. I met her for the first time a bit over two years ago. when I heard about her plight. She was born with a genetic disease called Junctional EB (Epidermolysis bullosa). This disease was painful as it affected all parts of her body. Her parents, family and friends did a great job of loving her and taking care of her for her six short weeks of life. Aubrey’s life on this earth ended on November 17, 2010. However, she is far from being forgotten.
1. The first lesson that I learned from Aubrey is contentment. When I visited Aubrey, she always had her eyes opened. I knew she had trouble breathing and she was in pain, but in all my visits I never detected a complaining or angry spirit. Her eyes were saying: “Could you please help me. I don’t feel well.” Her eyes convicted me of how easily I complain when things don’t go my way. Though she didn’t say it with words, her eyes showed me a form of contentment that I need to experience more often in my life. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
2. A second lesson that I learned from Aubrey is my need of dependence upon God. “I just want to hold her one last time. Aubrey loves to be held!” As I heard these words from Aubrey’s grandma the day of Aubrey’s entrance into God presence, I couldn’t help but feel sorrow and compassion for a dear family who would never again be able to hold their beloved daughter in their arms. It also brought to remembrance a verse in the Bible that has brought comfort to many people: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Aubrey’s loved ones had a great desire to hold her in their arms and show their great love for her. Likewise, Our Heavenly Father loves us and longs to keep us close unto Himself. His arms are all-powerful arms, yet His arms are also tender. His arms bring great comfort and protection through whatever trials and pains that we face. His arms will never tire in holding us.
Aubrey did love to be held in the arms of those who loved her. She felt the love and comfort from those loving arms. As I thought about this, I realized that at times I haven’t longed to be held by Our Heavenly Father. I choose to go my own way. Yes, His arms are reaching out for me, yet I often resist those loving arms. May I learn to rest assured in the arms of Our Loving Heavenly Father, even as Aubrey rested so comfortably in the arms of those who love her.
3. A third lesson that I learned from Aubrey is priority. Being with Aubrey during her last day on earth was very difficult. She would labor to breathe. This went on throughout the day until finally later in the evening her heart stopped beating. Aubrey showed me that truly I need to remember to place the things of God first in my life. Life is brief. Every day is a gift from God. Will I live each day for God’s purpose and His Glory?“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand ofGod. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
4. A fourth lesson that I learned from Aubrey is gratefulness for God’s salvation. As I would speak to Aubrey’s loved ones, I was glad that I could share Bible verses about Christ’s love for the world and how he died on the cross for our sins. Aubrey never had an opportunity to believe (because of her age), but the Bible does make it clear that she is present with the Lord. David expected to see his baby in heaven. “Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12: 21-23)
Two years ago, we said goodbye to Aubrey. She is now in God’s presence. I can’t always understand the ways of God, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to get to know Aubrey. She was an excellent teacher while she was with us!
How we start the day often dictates how the rest of our day will go. When we start our day with anxiety, worry and fear, these emotions likely will continue to affect us during the rest of the day. David faced many trials and obstacles; yet he could be encouraged by focusing upon His Lord in the morning. Starting our day with a focus upon God enables us to walk with confidence, peace, and joy. Our life will not be dictated by the events of the day, but by our faith and confidence in our living God.
David shares his faith and confidence in God by writing Psalm 31:3: “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3) David didn’t start his day alone. He was aware of God’s presence throughout the day. Here are three truths about God that gave David peace, joy, strength and direction each day
1. “My Rock”-David understands that God brings stability to his life. We don’t know the future. There are many dangers and pitfalls that we face each day. We are tempted to worry. We feel unable to handle what is happening. We feel like we are drowning; however, we can find stability in the midst of the instabilities of life. God is our rock! He is there to steady us. He is there to enable us to withstand any storm. Like Peter, when you feel like you are drowning allow the Lord to take your hand and place you on the Solid Rock.
2. “My Fortress”-David understands that God brings security to his life. Worry, fear and anxiety can control our days because of our insecurity. We feel insecure about our relationships, our finances, our health, our future, and our reputation. We can say “goodbye” to these insecurities when we flee to our Fortress, the Living God. He can protect us from whatever “enemies” or destructive thoughts that may be attacking us.
3. “Lead me and guide me”-David understands that God brings direction to his life. Each day presents its challenges. Often, we face situations which confuse us. We don’t know what to do. God is our Shepherd. He desires to lead us each day. As we start each day, God will guide us as we seek Him in His Word and in prayer. James shared with his readers: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5)
“Lord, every day has new challenges, problems and unexpected trials. Thank you for bringing stability, security and direction in my life. Help me to begin each day focusing upon you as my Rock, my Fortress and my Guide. Thank you for taking a special interest in me and what happens in my life throughout each day. Amen”
I am drowning in the midst of a storm. I feel alone. I don’t know where to go? What does the Word of God say: “The Lord is MY ROCK, and MY FORTRESS, and MY DELIVERER; MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, in whom I will trust; MY BUCKLER (shield), and the HORN OF MY SALVATION, and MY HIGH TOWER.” (Psalm 18:2)
Jesus reminded the disciples that in this life they would experience tribulation. We have all experienced tribulation. We try to resolve the situation. We try to cope. We try to ignore the storm; yet we feel like we are sinking deeper and deeper into the raging waters. David experienced many storms in his life. Where did he go for deliverance and relief? He went to “his God”. Likewise, we can go to our God regardless of how strong the storm.
1. We can go to Our God because He is our Rock. When a person is sinking into the water, they are looking for something solid on which to find their footing. We often stumble and fall because we don’t stand firmly upon our solid rock, the Lord God. Do you feel like you are wavering in every direction, then go to the Rock.
2. We can go to Our God because He is Our Fortress. A fortress is a place of refuge from the enemies we may have in this life. Many people talk about being hurt by others. Yes, others may try to hurt us, but we have a fortress to whom we can run. We don’t have to be hurt by others, we can go to the Lord God, Our Fortress.
3. We can go to Our God because He is Our Deliverer. The disciples were fearful in the midst of a terrible storm. They were without hope until they cried out to the Lord. The Lord stopped the storm. No matter how awful the storm, the Lord is ready and able to deliver us. No matter how strong the temptation the Lord will deliver us.
4. We can go to Our God because He is Our God. David knows that he has a personal relationship with the Lord God. He can go to His God at any time. When we know God, we can trust Him. We know that He loves us with an everlasting love. We know that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
5. We can go to Our God because He is Our Strength. David couldn’t handle his enemies in his own strength, but he knew the All-Powerful God. We can do nothing apart from God. As Paul stated: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13). We may get tired and want to quit, but God’s strength enables us to carry on.
6. We Can Go to Our God because He is our Shield. Satan throws his fiery darts of doubt, denial, guilt, temptation, discouragement, and rebellion against God. In ourselves, we have no defense against these darts; however God is Our Shield. He comes between us and the fiery darts of Satan. There is no safer place than behind God, Our Shield.
7. We can Go to Our God because He is Our Savior. Our salvation solves the greatest problem in life, which is how can a sinful person approach a Holy God. Jesus took our place upon the cross and paid for our sin. Through Him, we have eternal life. If God has taken care of our greatest problem in this life, why can’t we trust Him with the storms that pass through our lives?
8. We can Go to Our God because He is Our High Tower. We often see a bird flee into the sky as we approach it. The bird knows that there is safety in the heights. Likewise, our Lord places us in the heights to keep us away from the traps and snares of this life. The storms have little effect upon us when we are safe and secure in the Lord.
As a result of all that God is, David says: “In whom I will trust.” David knows the Greatness of God. He trusts God because he knows Him. Do we know our Great God. Yes, the storm may be strong, but we do have One to whom we can go. Will we?